While vacationing over the holidays, my friend Cecelia picked up a HEMA Vulpen fountain pen in Belgium for me. I had to do a bit of detective work about it before I could post a review about it. HEMA is a chain of department stores from the Netherlands. From their website it looks like a pretty nice shop, maybe upscale Target? They look to be scattered all over Europe.
Okay, back to the pen. It is exactly 5″ long capped in a matte black metal with silver trim and a brushed aluminum clip. The cap snaps on with friction, not a screw post. The cap can be posted on the pen for writing if you like the extra weight and length.
The nib is an iridium tipped steel nib and I would guess it to be just shy of a medium nib — like “fine-medium” by the European standards, not Japanese. Its a slender pen and not too long. I find it comfortable to hold in my small hands. It takes standard small European cartridges which provides lots of ink options including a refillable cartridge or syringe-filling an old cartridge. I used a Kaweco blue-black cartridge for my tests rather than the cartridge that came with the pen if only to have a known-quantity in regards to the ink.
In writing tests, the pen preformed admirably. I used it almost exclusively for a whole week for notes, planner entries, and letters and it worked well on lots of paper stocks. It had a little hesitancy first thing in the morning if it had sat all night but no worse than the Kaweco pens do. It writes very smoothly, silky even. I just love how it feels in my hand.
The amazing thing about this pen is the cost — a mere €3.25 (under $6). It kind of blows my mind that this pens performs in the same league with pens five times more expensive.
There are not a lot of reviews of this pen online though there are a few and the only place to get this pen appears to be at a HEMA store as I could not find it on their website. Unless you know someone traveling in Europe you could bribe to pick one up for you, this may be your holy grail of cheap fountain pens.